Oppostion united against PDP to save Nigeria – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said opposition political parties had no choice but to unite to stop the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party to save Nigeria from destruction.
Buhari said this at a public presentation of a book entitled, “From Opposition to Governing Party: Nigeria’s APC Merger Story,” written by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
Buhari noted that the leaders of major opposition political parties realised that the PDP machine could not be effectively tackled unless they set aside their differences and came together to salvage the nation.
He said, “We realised in 2015 that unless we come together, the PDP will succeed in killing Nigeria, so we had to make sacrifices.”
The President also recalled the genesis of his relationship with the author.
He recalled that his relationship with Onu dated back to his days in protective custody during the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida dictatorship.
According to him, Onu was among the few Nigerians who stood by him during his trying days.
“My relationship with the author is cordial. When I was placed in a protective custody, he was sending people to greet me regularly. That was how the relationship developed,” Buhari said.
Earlier, Onu had explained that the three legacy opposition political parties had to give up their individual identities to form what has now become Africa’s largest political party.
He said, “What happened has never been witnessed in Nigeria or Africa when political parties merged to defeat a ruling party. Three political parties gave up their identities to form the largest political party in the history of this country.
“Before this historic event, several efforts were made to bring the opposition parties together. None of that worked. In the past, we had tried to work together. At first, it appeared possible until the whole process collapsed.
“But in 2013, the APC was born. This book is to document the events that led to the formation of the APC. It is about how we moved from being an opposition party to becoming the ruling party.”
Onu also said he wrote the book to help the APC learn from the mistakes of the PDP and avoid what led to its downfall.
While expressing his confidence in a united Nigeria, Onu urged the protesting youths in the South-East to sheathe their swords and give the Buhari administration a chance to deliver on its promises.
The minister said, “In the south-eastern part of the country, there is a growing protest. It is important that all regions are represented in an orderly manner that represents all interests. Buhari understands the plurality of Nigeria and will do everything to accommodate all.
“The Igbo need Nigeria just as Nigeria needs the Igbo. We must assure the youths of the South-East that the administration of President Buhari means well for them.”
In their separate remarks, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, paid glowing tributes to the author, describing him as an exemplary politician worthy of emulation.
Atiku said, “I think every Nigerian pays attention to public affairs. His (Onu’s) appointment is well deserved. Those of us who have worked with him have come to see in him competence, humility and sharp intellect. He is a gentleman in every good sense of the word.
“It is amazing that he found time despite what was going on to write this book. The book chronicles the process that led to the formation of the APC. As we have been told, it is a story of patriotism and sacrifice. It is also a story of change.”
Tambuwal said, “I was privileged to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives when all that is captured in this book happened.
“Then, I was maintaining a very delicate balance. My emergence as the Speaker in 2011 was as a result of the efforts of all parties.
“Back then, the formation of the APC was already in the wing. Onu is a man of many parts. The presence of two former governors from Ebonyi State who are PDP members and a serving governor is a testimony of who you are.”
The event attracted politicians from across party lines, captains of industries, friends and well-wishers.